…Winter’s Not Over Yet


#AFN2014

Cocktail Culture

As to be expected for New England weather, the end of February does not mean the end of the cold. Just as we have experienced with the beginning of the previous few months, March is expected to begin with another round of snow. With the pavement finally showing again in my driveway, but the green grass still a distant memory, I have decided to get my fix of green through cocktails (which will also be a great prep for the lovely holiday of St. Paddy’s Day just a couple short weeks away).

Here are a couple green cocktails to chase away my winter blues…

Emerald City Martini

  • 1 part Hiram Walker® Melon Liqueur
  • 1 part Malibu®
  • ½ part Hiram Walker® Black Raspberry

Shake and serve straight up over the Black Raspberry at the bottom of the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Minty Sangria

(can be served as a pitcher)

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Thanks to Climate Change, West Nile Virus Could Be Your New Neighbor


#AHN2014 says `We Reap What We Sow’ #virus

Science & Space

Invasive species aren’t just species—they can also be pathogens. Such is the case with the West Nile virus. A mosquito-borne virus identified in the West Nile subregion in Uganda in 1937—hence the name—West Nile wasn’t much of a concern to people elsewhere until it broke out of Africa in 1999. The first U.S. cases were confirmed in New York City in 1999, and it has now spread throughout much of the world. Though 80% of infections are subclinical—meaning they yield no symptoms—those who do get sick can get very sick.The virus can led to encephalitis—inflammation of the brain and nervous system—and even death, with 286 people dying from West Nile in the U.S. in 2012. There were more than 5,500 cases reported that year, and the scary thing is that as the climate warms, West Nile will continue to spread.

That’s the conclusion of a new study from a team…

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Something From Nothing – Newspaper Pots


#AF&HN2014 says food is health and growing your own is the most healthy #chef-tips

Spade Fork Spoon

This time month is the time of year when gardeners and allotmenteers are starting to sow seeds ready for the season ahead. I’ve got loads of pots waiting at the allotment, but my seed trays have seen better days. I always try and spend the smallest amount of money I can at the allotment, so replacing a load of seed modules without having to buy new ones is desirable. A while ago we got a wooden seed pot maker; so armed with that and the newspapers from the weekend I set about creating some seed modules for my early sowings. Obviously using newspaper is great as it is always best to reuse rather than simply recycle. However, its other advantage is that seedlings can just be planted out in their paper modules; the newspaper will breakdown in the soil and allow roots to spread and establish. Its a little time…

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` Plastic Chemical `Azodicarbonamide ‘ found in nearly 500 foods and supplied by around 130 Companies’


#AceFoodNews says latest reports from EWG state that a `Plastic Chemical found in nearly 500 foods sold in US, by over 130 companies.

Nearly 500 food items commonly sold in the United States contain a chemical compound also used in synthetic leathers and yoga mats, but a health research and advocacy organization is aiming to change that.

azodicarbonamideFast-food chain restaurant Subway made headlines earlier this month when it announced that it would no longer be including that compound  azodicarbonamide or ADA — as a “dough conditioner” in the sandwich bread used in thousands of locations around the globe. But researchers at the Environmental Working Group say Subway isn’t the only guilty party, and that roughly 130 other companies mass-produce and sell an array of products that should have that chemical from their recipes as well.

According to a report released by that group on Thursday this week, consumers are just about as likely to find azodicarbonamide while at the grocery store as they would be inside a plastics factory. The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, has constructed a database containing the ingredients of 80,000 foods sold across the US, and say Subway shouldn’t be the only ones changing their recipes.

“This industrial plastics chemical shows up in many commercial baked goods as a ‘dough conditioner’ that renders large batches of dough easier to handle and makes the finished products puffier and tough enough to withstand shipping and storage. According to the new EWG Food Database of ingredients in 80,000 foods, now under development, ADA turns up in nearly 500 items and in more than 130 brands of bread, bread stuffing and snacks, including many advertised as ‘healthy,’” the report reads.

Among the suspect brands, the EWG report claims, are Ball Park, Butternut, Country Hearth, Fleischman’s, Food Club, Harvest Pride, Healthy Life, Jimmy Dean, Joseph Campione, Kroger, Little Debbie, Mariano’s, Marie Callendar’s, Martin’s, Mother’s, Nature’s Own, Pillsbury, Roman Meal, Sara Lee, Schmidt, Shoprite, Safeway, Smucker’s, Sunbeam, Turano, Tyson, Village Hearth and Wonder.

Environmental Working Group

Environmental Working Group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“EWG recommends that consumers take steps to avoid the industrial additive ADA in their food. It is an unnecessary ingredient, its use has raised concerns about occupational exposure, and questions remain about its potential risk to consumers,” the group writes. “EWG also calls on all manufacturers to immediately end its use in food.”

Federal regulators, on the other hand, haven’t had a problem with ADA just yet. The US Food and Drug Administration has long approved the addition of ADA in consumable, as long as its presence doesn’t exceed 0.0045 percent of the weight of the flour used, as have the FDA’s Canadian counterparts. Elsewhere regulators have been more willing to hear out consumer concerns, however, and officials in Australia and the European Union have failed to give the okay to ADAs.

Soon that same anti-sentiment could become rampant in America: earlier this month US Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) asked the FDA to ban ADAs altogether, and other fast-food chains have been pressured to stop using the chemical in the wake of the successful Subway petition that garnered more than 67,000 signatures from anti-azodicarbonamide advocates.

The FDA approved the chemical compound as being safe-in-moderation with regards to foods meant for human consumption back in 1962, but the banning 25 years later of another common dough conditioner — potassium bromate — has increased reliance on ADA ever since.

Despite being cleared as safe by the FDA, the World Health Organization has gone the record to say that epidemiological studies in humans and animals alike have produced “abundant evidence that azodicarbonamide can induce asthma, other respiratory symptoms and skin sensitization”

 

 

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